Moscow said Monday it had arrested members of a “neo-Nazi terrorist” group in Russia who allegedly planned to assassinate pro-Kremlin TV anchor Vladimir Solovyov on orders from Ukraine.
“The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation detained a group of members of the neo-Nazi terrorist organization National Socialism/White Power, which is banned in Russia,” Russia’s FSB security agency said in a statement carried by news agencies, adding that those arrested are Russian citizens.
The FSB claimed the group was planning the “murder” of Russian TV and radio journalist Solovyov “on the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine”.
It added that the group “confessed to preparing the murder of Solovyov, after which they planned to flee abroad”.
According to the FSB, “fake” Ukrainian passports, arms, drugs and an improvised explosive device were found during a search of the detainees’ homes.
Speaking at a meeting of Russian prosecutors, President Vladimir Putin suggested Washington was involved in planning the “murder of a famous Russian TV journalist”, without naming him.
“They have resorted to terror! To preparing the murders of our journalists. We know by name the curators of Western secret services, primarily, of course, from the CIA, who work with the security agencies of Ukraine,” Putin said in televised remarks.
“Apparently they give such advice (to kill journalists). So much for their attitude towards the rights of journalists… (and) human rights in general,” Putin added.
A staunch supporter of Putin and Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Solovyov is under EU sanctions for spreading state “propaganda”.